LCRA says drought now worse than '47-'57 drought

John Hoffman, the LCRA Vice President for Water says the famous 1947 to 1957 drought is no longer the worst on record -- this one is.

"This drought has gone on long enough and been severe enough to where it has become the new standard by which we judge drought in Central Texas and it's what defines our supplies," Hoffman said.

Preliminary 2014 data is showing inflows for that year are the second lowest on record.

He says the last time the reservoirs were full was in 2007.

"So when you think in terms of drought and how long this drought has gone on and how severe it's's beginning to effect the amount of supply we can count on on a year-to-year basis," he said.

The LCRA says reliable inventory has been reduced by 100,000 acre feet a year to 500,000 acre feet per year.

Hoffman says recent rainfall events have been too spread out and they haven't been helping Lakes Travis and Buchanan much.

"We need 20 plus inches of rain out in the Hill Country north of the Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan watershed for us to have our reservoirs replenished," Hoffman said.

Hoffman says Lake Travis is 55 feet below the fill line and Buchanan is 33 feet below.

Jason Hill with City of Austin Water says these new numbers weren't surprising to them. He says they have the same data.

"It's just a reminder not only for us but for the LCRA and for the community that we have to continue to be mindful about our use until we get through this drought," Hill said.

The good news is -- the LCRA says even in these conditions, the 2 lakes remain above their all time lows and they say it doesn't affect existing contracts like the City of Austin.

"I've had people ask me 'So are we in any danger of running out of water?' And the answer to that is 'no.' We're not going to run out of water but we don't have enough water to waste," Hoffman said.

Unrelated to the water inventory talk, the LCRA says if the combined storage gets below 600,000 acre feet which it could this summer, the LCRA board would issue a Drought Worse than Drought of Record declaration where there would be some water cutbacks.

600,000 acre feet is also a trigger for the City of Austin Stage 3 water restrictions as well. The city manager makes that call.